We have received our Quinquennial Inspection report, and
essential repairs seem to be needed all over our listed building.
Nothing so big as replacing a roof, but things such as stones,
downpipes, windows, and tracery, added together, come to far more
than we can tackle financially. We might do the work in phases, but
we don't want to pay out for a full scaffold more than once: it is
MOST Quinquennial reports have a useful section that uses a
timescale for necessary work: immediate, in two years, and in five
years. Use this as advice, not prescription.
Run through the list of repairs to differentiate between
important repairs that would prevent the loss of heritage material
(such as stone or carving), and critical repairs, such as those
that protect the structural integrity of the building (keeping out
the wind and rain).
It is possible to scaffold one side or a building, or just the
tower; so make a chart, with lists of works for the main "faces" of
the building: tower, north, south, and east (west is usually
covered by the tower). Under each heading, list the required works,
starting with the most urgent at the top and working down to the
A picture may emerge of how, by tackling one face of the
building, you can pick up most of the critical works. Emergency
holding-work may address an item on another face, without the whole
scaffold, until you can get to that work properly in a future
phase. Lay out a five-year plan that picks up the various phases
and makes them manageable.
There are, as always, a few provisos. Work that is related to
gutters, downpipes, and drainage will always be of the highest
priority; they are the most likely items to threaten the integrity
of your building. If your report has significant works targeted on
these, you may wish to make this your first phase. Items such as
window repairs (glazing and painting the frames) can be stand-alone
tasks, which can be tackled at any time, and fund-raising may even
be separate, as there are specific trusts that like helping with
If your planned phasing leaves tracery or carved stones for a
later stage, even though they are clearly deteriorating, have some
good photographs taken so that anything lost can be replaced in due
It is better to tackle the worst tasks relatively quickly, in a
project that is shaped to be within the parameters of the trusts
that like to help churches with repairs. And plan to fund each
phase fully before you start any work on it. What you do not want
is to create such stress for the building committee that all the
members disappear after the first phase. Excellent planning and
inbuilt safeguards keep everyone confident.
Put the building committee and the building into your
intercessions. Also, add updates to the notice-sheet: otherwise,
the year during which the committee addresses fund-raising will
seem, to the person in the pew, like a year of doing nothing.
Sometimes, waiting for answers from trusts is the most active thing
you can do. Of course, the restless person in the pew could become
pro-active and make a donation, or run a fund-raising event.
Issues and questions to: